Students deserve more than the regular standard

Jillian Shayer

The California Teachers Association (CTA) is sponsoring a measure that would cut costs and stop standardized testing for second grade students.’ According to the CTA, testing the nearly 500,000 second graders costs California between $2 – 4 million annually. Only ten states currently administer standardized tests for second grade students.’

Contrary to opponents of this measure, the elimination of these tests would not be in violation of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, an accountability system in place to determine if the school district is meeting the need and showing growth in academic performance.’

By eliminating state testing for second grade students, teachers could increase direct instruction and help strengthened core curriculum concepts rather than administer tests that have little to offer in the way of assessment or measure of a student’s individual needs.’

With the current economic crisis, California schools are searching for ways to meet budget constraints.’ In addition to the hundreds of teachers who have received pink slips, funds for specialists, including library personnel, school counselors, art and music professionals, and intervention programs for at risk students and English Language Learners, are in danger of being cut.’

Elimination of state testing would allow the money to be put to better use by keeping class sizes smaller, funding intervention programs and providing the second grade students with exposure to developmentally appropriate curriculum.

The money budgeted for state testing would be best allocated to programs that will strengthen academic skills, such as small group or more individualized instruction, which in turn helps prepare them to participate in state testing at a more developmentally and age appropriate time.’